If you’re reading this article, it may be because you recently caught the “I want to make really cool things with my hands!” bug. If you find yourself coming down with this common affliction, have no fear – Maine provides a wealth of treatments. Whether you’re a complete novice, an experienced artist, or a crafter who wants to try out a new medium, there are a number of places in Maine where you can take classes, buy supplies, and even connect with other folks in the same boat. Or if your preference is to enjoy the work of other artists without necessarily dabbling in the arts yourself, there are many ways to purchase unique, handmade goods; both locally and online.
Learning the Art of Crafting
Throughout the state, there are several places to take classes in everything from pottery to knitting to woodworking to jewelry-making. This list is by no means exhaustive, but indicates the range of venues for these types of classes. To find options within your community, inquire with arts and crafts supply stores, galleries, adult ed programs and community centers to see what they have to offer for classes.
- Heartwood College of Art Community Classes | Kennebunk
- Artascope Studios | South Portland
- Maine College of Art Continuing Ed | Portland
- Portland Adult Education | Portland
- Portland Pottery & Metalsmithing Studio | Portland
- Earth & Soul Pottery | Portland
- Atelier Stitch (sewing & quilting) | Portland
- PortFiber | Portland
- KnitWit | Portland
- Caravan Beads | Portland
- Halcyon Yarn | Bath (and bonus: use your SunriseGuide coupon to try your hand at the world of fiber arts!)
- River Arts | Damariscotta
- Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts | Newcastle
- Over the Rainbow Yarn | Rockland
- Coastal Maine Art Workshops | Camden
- Belfast Creative Coalition | Belfast
- Haystack | Deer Isle
- Studio Still Life | Portland
Connecting with Other Artists…Locally and Around the World
As if creating handmade goods wasn’t enjoyable enough, you can make a social event out of it and increase the “fun quotient” ten-fold! From informal “creativity nights” with your friends to community meet-ups to international crafting social media websites, collaborative crafting is a fantastic way to swap ideas, inspire one another, and meet new people.
- Craftgawker – Get ideas from other artists and learn how to make a ton of unique DIY projects that people have posted.
- Ravelry – A humongous social media site for knitters and crocheters. Find patterns, swap tips, make friends, buy yarn, find local knitting groups…and so much more!
- Maine Spinner’s Registry – A list of all the fiber arts groups throughout Maine (spinning, knitting, crocheting, etc.)
- “Sit & Knit” – A knitting and crocheting group for 5-19 year olds at the Portland Public Library on the first and third Monday of every month
- MeetUp.com – Great site for finding local groups meeting in your area for a variety of reasons…including knitting!
- A lot of yarn stores offer a free open community knitting night – call your local store to see if this is something they offer…or if you can help them start one up!
- Start your own group! Get a group of your creative friends together and pick a night every week to gather at someone’s house and make art. BYOCP – Bring Your Own Craft Project!
Purchasing Handmade Goods
Purchasing handmade goods is a fantastic way to fill your home with unique items while supporting the arts. And when you purchase these goods from local retailers, you’re also supporting your community’s economy…win-win!
Buying Directly from Artists
Here is a list of websites that will help you find artists and crafters in Maine…and beyond:
- Etsy – The largest online marketplace for handmade goods…you’ll be able to find just about anything your heart desires!
- Picnic – An art and musical festival that happens twice a year in Portland…and here’s the list of the event’s local vendors and links to where you can find them the rest of the year.
- Portland Flea-For-All – A sale that occurs every Saturday and Sunday in Portland, featuring vintage items and local handmade goods.
- Maine Crafts Association
- Maine Artist Collective
- The Maine Crafts Guild
Buying Local Art from Local Retailers
Retailers around the state sell local handmade goods…this is just a small sampling of the many places where you can simultaneously support local businesses AND local art. (Note: The retailers marked with an asterisk have coupons in the 2013 SunriseGuide you can use too!)